Pierre Gasly rates new Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen as “probably the most talented” driver on the current Formula 1 grid and feels the pair share a mutual respect with each other.

The French driver steps up to Red Bull for 2019 after just one season at Toro Rosso, bringing with him a key year of experience with Honda’s F1 power units, as the team starts a new partnership with the Japanese manufacturer.

Red Bull Racing F1 Team Profile 2018

Gasly, who competed against Verstappen at karting level, rates the Dutch driver as the most talented on the F1 grid, while he is eager to maintain a respect on and off track.

“My target in Formula 1 is to be world champion and to be world champion you need to beat the best drivers on the grid,” Gasly said. “To be fair at the moment I think he is probably the most talented guy out there and to race in the same team as him is an amazing opportunity.

“I could not have asked for a better thing because I am in my second year in F1, I still need to develop and I still need to learn a lot of things. To have a super-competitive teammate next to me will help push me. It will make me development myself a lot faster so it is fantastic.

“In karting we didn’t really know each other but in the end we knew each other as drivers and later like people and then friends. I think we clearly learnt to respect each other and that’s the main thing: if you respect each other and you know how to separate things on and off track everything goes well.”

Red Bull has one of the youngest driver pairings in Gasly (23) and Verstappen (21) on the 2019 F1 grid but the French driver doesn’t feel it will act as a potential drawback to its efforts this season.

“I am not here to change the opinion of anyone but for me I really don’t care about the age,” he said. “I think it depends on the maturity you have, your experiences in the past and the way you have learnt.

“You can be 18 and be more mature than someone who is 30. It is just a number and I don’t see any problem with it.”

Red Bull officially launches its 2019 F1 car, the RB15, tomorrow (February 13) on the same day as Mercedes and Racing Point.